Augmented pain and inflammation with obesity: a role for the pro-inflammatory cytokine visfatin

Nasser M. Alorfi, Sharron Dolan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Obesity is associated with several co-morbidities including chronic pain. Systemic low-grade chronic inflammation and dysregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines have been proposed to underlie these phenomena. This study characterized pain and inflammation, and levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine visfatin, in a rodent model of obesity, and investigated whether treatment with the visfatin inhibitor, FK866, has anti-inflammatory and/or analgesic effects in normal and obese rats. The effects of pre-administration of FK866 (3, 10 mg/kg; i.p.) on carrageenan (3%; i.d. into the left paw)-induced thermal and mechanical hypersensitivity and paw oedema was measured in adult male Wistar rats fed a normal diet (ND) or high fat diet (HFD) for 12 weeks. HFD-fed rats displayed an increased sensitivity to acute mechanical nociceptive stimulation, and potentiated mechanical hyperalgesia and peripheral inflammation to carrageenan. Levels of circulating visfatin were increased in HFD-fed rats. Treatment with FK866, a visfatin inhibitor, was effective in reducing carrageenan-induced hyperalgesia and paw oedema in both ND-fed and HFD-fed rats. These data show that FK866 has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The potentiated response to pain and inflammation, and elevated visfatin levels in HFD-fed rats supports the hypothesis that obesity is a chronic low-grade inflammatory disorder. Reversal of this co-morbidity by blocking visfatin may be a novel therapeutic strategy for managing pain with obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalNeurology and Neurobiology Journal
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2021


  • visfatin
  • obesity
  • pain
  • inflammation
  • cytokines
  • high fat diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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